Street FIGHT:Conflict
Ahlu Sunna Attacks Al-Shabaab Positions
Weakened Moderate Islamist Group Pushing Insurgents
Heavy fighting broke out Wednesday morning as pro-government Islamist militia Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa (ASWJ) attacked insurgent group al-Shabaab's positions in Dhirimaadle, near the capital of Hiran province, Beledweyne.

ASWJ official Sheikh Abdullahi Sheikh Abdi Rahman told Somalia Report that at least nine had died - two from his side and seven from al-Shabaab. Eleven were wounded, and fighting was ongoing.

"We attacked the positions of al-shabaab at Dhirimaadle village and took them," he said. "The fighting spread to other villages."

Al-Shabaab did not comment on the battles.

The Sufi-led ASWJ has been weakened by splits in its leadership and rank-and-file, raising fears that al-Shabaab could take advantage and gain ground in Central Somalia, offsetting losses in Mogadishu in and the Gedo region.